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Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:40 am

I think Mendes is making the right decision for himself, just maybe not the right decision for the rest of us!

I've heard Nolan mentioned too, but I just don't see that happening. Bond and Nolan just don't seem like a natural match, but I could be mistaken. Campbell would be a good choice, but would he come back to do a third?

A complete long-shot that I would have some interest in is if Chris Columbus decided to direct a Bond. But I'm not sure the studio would go for an American director. They've had Brits, European's, Kiwi's, even a Canadian at the helm, but I don't recall an American ever stepping up to the plate, although that doesn't mean the offer was never made. Are you aware of an American being approached to direct a Bond?
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:04 pm

Roger Spottiswoode was born in Canada, but I think that he took up residence in the States, so he is a bit of a mixed bag. Not sure who they have approached in the past that did not work out for whatever reason, but I would have a hard time believing that they have not talked to an American director before.

Personally, I cannot stand Columbus so he would not exactly be my first choice. (The only one of his movies that I actually enjoyed was Adventures in Babysitting.) As far as current Americans go, Brad Bird would be near the top of my picks. However, since they are trying to get the next movie shooting as quickly as possible and Bird is tied up with the Tomorrowland project, he is probably off the table. Did you ever see his Mission: Impossible sequel?
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:28 pm

I don't see why they wouldn't approach an American either. But then I thought about all the directors and couldn't remember one, which got me thinking. That was all.

I'm not a big fan of Columbus in general, but I did like what he did with his Harry Potter entries, and I appreciated that he respectfully portrayed British culture, which is important for the Potter series (despite the magic, the coming of age story, and the war against a too-powerful villain, the Potter series is very much a tale of a school-aged boy in Britain -- it'd be like removing the British culture from the Doctor Who series). At any rate, that is why he came to mind.

As an aside, on this season of Top Gear, James May test drives the Bentley Continental Speed. They even have a rally driver test it on a rally track and the car does surprisingly well! I kinda want one . . . .
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:38 pm

Yeah, I am getting more and more into the Bentley thing after looking into it. Seems like a helluva car.

Now, there is the whole opinion thing for you -- I thought that Columbus's two Potter films were among the weakest of the pack. Alfonse Cuaron's Azkabhan is hands-down the best for me, though I do think that David Yates did a bangup job on his films.

I was reading a rumour that they are indeed talking to Martin Cambell, and an even more interesting one that they may be talking to Kathryn Bigelow. I would be all over the latter, if it is true. Her sensibilities are distinctly American, but on the other hand I would love to see what a woman would bring to the series -- and there are no female directors at all, past or present, who can handle action scenes like she does. Damn few men, for that matter. However, it looks like she is planning to complete a trilogy of war films with screenwriter Mark Boal after the two that they have done so far, so we shall see.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:59 pm

While I watched the special features on the Skyfall disc shortly after it came out, I have been waiting to rewatch the movie until we could get together with one of Eve's friends who had not seen it. I finally got it done this weekend, and I have a few observations.

To get the negatives out of the way, while it may have minor flaws here and there I only have three major objections. The first, as I have mentioned before, is the issue with Q plugging Silva's laptop into their network. It really brings me out of the film every time that I see it. Surely they could have found another way for Silva to hack the Mi6 network, though I do understand that it is supposed to be a character-defining moment for Q (as in the perils of overconfidence.)

Second, again as we have discussed before, is the gadgets in the DB5. Since the car WAS set up in Casino Royale, but in a completely different fashion than it was in Goldfinger, it just makes no logical sense, as well as being out of character for the Craig series. However, having complained about that, I cannot deny the impact that those scenes have on audiences; when I saw the film theatrically -- both times -- Bond firing the machine guns got the biggest audience reaction of the entire film. (Even my wife let out a "whoop"!) The Craig films, while very successful, have generally lacked those kind of crowd-pleasing moments, so while it may grate on me I may also have to grant the masses their little pleasures!

Third, the scene where Bond falls through the ice just bends reality too much not to serve as a distraction. While many viewers/reviewers have complained about Bond surviving the fall from the railroad bridge, I can still accept it as "Bondian reality." But showing no ill effects after spending a good minute in water sufficiently cold to keep a layer of ice thick enough to support more than one person is just too much and it temporarily takes me out of the film again.

But really, those minor beefs are hardly sufficient to affect the film's strengths in any way. I noticed more of them on this viewing. For instance, when you finally get around to watching it again, pay particular attention to the scenes with Ralph Fiennes. His character is written and played in a much more complex fashion than is immediately obvious. On a first viewing, he seems to have a change of heart partway through (after the attack on the hearing with M.) However, if you watch things closely, he really is not as much of an antagonist as he first appears. In particular, in the scene where M clears Bond to return to active duty, he is deliberately goading both M and Bond, but not so much critically as he is trying to push Bond into proving the value of the 00s.

I also noticed some interesting but very subtle details. Watch the shootout at the hearing. While Eve shot Bond at the beginning of the film, and he teases her about that repeatedly, when he arrives at the shootout and strolls in after shooting the fire extinguishers, he walks right in front of Eve without even glancing at her -- trusting her NOT to shoot him this time! (And watch on the one angle how Naomi Harris drops the nose of her gun as Bond walks in front of her out of safety, but has it raised again on the reverse shot after Bond has passed.) She missed a tough shot earlier, and ultimately decides that she is not cut out for field work, but she is still competent to do the job -- and Bond knows it. I also love how Bond provides cover fire when he sees Mallory go for a gun on the ground. O.K., so it is a Bond film, not a documentary about proper fire tactics, but little details like that are still fun.

If you do watch it again, I highly recommend the commentary track with Sam Mendes. (The one with the producers is pretty terrible and I shut it off after a few minutes.) Mendes really explains a lot about the decisions that they made in the film, and it adds much to an appreciation of it. For instance, while many have groused about the gun barrel sequence ocurring at the end of the film instead of the beginning, Mendes explains that he always intended to have it at the beginning, but it seemed redundant when it was placed just prior to Bond's entrance, which is itself an homage to the gun barrel. (The hallways serves as the barrel, with Bond stepping into frame from the side, just like the classic sequence.) So he really had to put it at the end. Lots of other good information as well, such as the reason why he included the scene with Bond leaping off the back of the Komodo dragon was that he felt that the movie needed a "Roger Moore moment."

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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:04 pm

I'm definitely in the minority, but I didn't like what Alfonse Cuaron did with Harry Potter. Sure, the dark tone was nice, but I found the overall pacing choppy and out of sorts with the book. Even the choice to never show the kids in school uniform made little sense. Part of the charm of the series was their experience and life as school kids, and Cuaron threw that out the window. Yates, I agree, found a balance.

My beef with Skyfall isn't the fall from the train, but the fact that Bond keeps fighting after being shot. That was a high-calibre round that struck him. My other additional beef is the train crash in the subway. The timing and everything about it took me out of the movie. I agree with your comments about Q and the DB5.

I will check out the commentary track with Mendes. Not sure we ever really need a Moore moment, but I can see the appeal . . . .
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:02 pm

Well, since it WAS the fiftieth anniversary film, he was trying to strike a balance while being true to what works for Craig. And I think that I mentioned it before, but to me it is still not clear that Bond was shot by Patrice, but rather that he was sprayed with shrapnel when the bullet went through the front of the crane. So the wounds could be surface ones. On the other hand, in the fight on the train it does appear that there is a blood stain on the BACK of his jacket, so they may be trying to imply that the bullet passed through and just left a few fragments from its likely deformation going through the cab. But that is all over-analyzing the whole thing, needless to say. I can still accept Bond being tougher than is realistic. I just have a much harder time with no signs of hypothermia whatsoever. The train crash did not bother me, mostly because they did it for real with a full-size replica of a train and the tunnel; it is amazing how much an unrealistic scene becomes more acceptable when done for real, rather than with minatures or digital effects. But the timing does not really bother me, as Silva keeps Bond talking during the scene, waiting for his moment; presumably he intended to let Bond catch up with him in that tunnel and knew the schedule (he may well have been monitoring things via an earpiece like Bond's -- he would have to have had contact with his crew to time everything else out.) But that is all rationalizing again, I admit.

The probable reason why I have less issues with Cuaron's film than you do is because I have never read any of the books, so I was judging things purely as a film and not as an adaption.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:39 am

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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:25 pm

That is such a beautiful car.

You are quite correct about the Harry Potter series. I think I would view things quite differently had I not read the books.

Any Bond film (or action flick) has moments of disbelief. But overall I think Skyfall finds a good balance. The strengths of that film far outweigh its weaknesses.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:28 am

I remember getting into a debate about realism/suspension of disbelief with one of my customers at the video store where I was working when the first Die Hard movie came out. He loved action movies, but insisted that they be "realistic" and believable. That made it deuce difficult to recommend movies for him. I pushed him had to give Die Hard a chance, and ultimately he liked it, though he had some criticisms. But watching the original now, especially compared to the newer sequels, there is a major difference. I think the thing that kept the action relatively grounded in the first film, regardless of how objectively over-the-top it may have been, is the vulnerability of the John McClane character. He may do heroic or even super-heroic things, but he pays the price for it. The shot of him a the end just before his final confrontation with Hans, covered with blood, bandaged, and barely able to even hold the gun he is pointing, elicits the classic "Jesus!" out of Holly -- both a shocked curse and a deliberately cheeky reference to McClane himself as a resurrected saviour. The fact that he experiences such pain and suffering as the result of his heroics both humanizes the character and makes the unbelievable action seem more realistic. (My favorite moment is the very subtle one as he is hanging off the side of the building after his leap to avoid the explosion; as he kicks at the glass in desperation, his feet are leaving visible bloody streaks from the cuts on his feet due to the glass scene.) The newer sequels make him more indestructible, and it destroys the main strength of the original.

All of that, of course, defends either your view of the opening of the film or mine of the climax on the ice. In both cases, it is not the action that bothers us, but rather the fact that Bond fails to show sufficient ill effects as a result. Interestingly, though, it is still very much a personal thing; we each have different thresholds of what we will accept.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:00 am

And from all that, I think we can safely conclude that both of us would rather have another Bond (flaws and all) than no more Bonds! Although I would hate to slip back into the realm of Die Another Day or Moonraker.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:54 am

That is the primary mistake that the anti-Craigers on danielcraigisnotbond keep making: they repeatedly claim that the series is "over," "ruined," and that nothing will change that going forward. I am even charitable enough to allow for their hatred of Craig, but I am baffled by their instance that it somehow "ends" the series. The series has made many, many changes over the years, some up, some down, and it will continue to do so. But if I was able to suffer through TWELVE YEARS of Roger Moore, the least that they could do is accept that they may have to suffer with something that they do not like, at least for a time; however, the pendulum WILL swing again. I am ecstatic about the success of Skyfall, not so much because I enjoyed the movie, but more so because it ensures that James Bond Will Return, at least for the forseeable future. I can take a much more balanced view of Die Another Day as well; I really dislike the film (though for all of its flaws, it does have a few highlights) but I was still glad that it was a hit. I am even more glad that Broccoli and Wilson had the foresight not to repeat themselves off that hit, and institute drastic changes, but if it takes a few bad "popular" Bond films to keep the series going, then I can tolerate the big hits like DAD and Moonraker (yes, the latter was the most succesful Bond film to date at that point!)
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:47 am

Certainly, the series will not go on forever as it has recently. Craig will eventually step out of Bond's shoes and the public will start to tire of a more realistic, serious Bond. Broccoli and Wilson will eventually be out of the picture. A new generation will take us in a new direction, whatever that may be. But I can honestly say that I hope it does not go to the extreme or silliness of Moonraker. That is such a painful film to watch.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:10 pm

Interesting names for potential directors in this article, including Cuaron and even Ben Affleck: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/443252/20130307/james-bond-films-skyfall-sam-mendes-director.htm.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:45 pm

The name that I have seen a few time that really interests me is Joe Wright. While he is primarily known for dramas such as Anna Karenina and Atonement, his one action film Hannah was absolutely smashing. Did you ever see it? It has some of the most truly interestingly directed and edited action scenes that I have seen in a long time; he somehow manages to combine the rhythms of the editing, music and sound effects into a coherent whole.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:18 am

I've been wanting to see Hanna but still haven't gotten around to it. Thanks for the reminder.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:32 pm

Pay attention to how the action scenes develop. Wright admits in the commentary track that he had no experience with action, and since the film was shot more or less in order the first scene in the film is the most conventionally shot and edited. He got more comfortable as he went along. There is one fantastic scene that he did in one single shot, and another amazing scene with cargo crates where the sound of people jumping from crate to crate is in sync with the editing and the music. I would endorse him for Bond whole-heartedly.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:50 pm

I recall you telling me that back when you first recommended the film. I will definitely pick it up.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:53 pm

I was trying to find some spoiler-free clips on youtube, but they all give away too much, especially considering how the films starts and where it goes from there. But I also did not really describe that one-take scene very well; while it is true that the entire fight is done in one take, I left out the fact that the entire sequence, including the setup, is all in one take. It is around 3-4 minutes, and starts as one character gets off a bus in a crowded environment, and then plays cat and mouse with some people who are tailing him, culminating in the fight at the end. That was a really ballsy way to shoot a fight scene, because considering the logistics of the rest of the scene, if one stuntman missed his mark during the fight at the end they would have to shoot the entire sequence before it all over again, with all of its myriad logistics and extras.

The thing that Wright could add is a high sense of stylization. While I love both of Martin Campbell's Bond films, and consider them among the best of the series, his style is fairly straightforward and unobtrusive. Mendes did a good job of returning a sense of style to the film, but Wright would push that even farther, while still being able to handle the dramatic scenes very well.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:33 pm

And that might be what the next Bond needs. What works for one films feels complacent when repeated in the following film. In some regards, I think that it is a good thing that Mendes declined to direct the next Bond. Perhaps he realizes that the next film needs to be different and he will return when the time is right?

A four-minute scene done in one take is impressive and ballsy for all who were involved! Absolutely everyone had to be on their game. That's very cool.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:41 pm

Joe Wright loves his long takes. Did you see Atonement? That film has a justifiably famous five-minute single take as James McAvoy walks the beach at Dunkirk after the battle. Over 1000 extras in the scene, too. It took several takes to get it right. I could not find the scene itself, but here is a featurette from the DVD/Blu-Ray to show a bit of what was involved:

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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:26 am

I know the scene you're talking about, but I never stopped to consider that it was shot in one take.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:12 pm

That is the interesting thing about long takes; they do not necessarily call attention to themselves. Some do, like the club scene in Goodfellas, but then again Scorsese shoots ANTYHING in a fairly ostentatious manner. So did Welles, of course, in movies like Touch of Evil (which, by the way, is supposedly finding its way to Blu-Ray!!!) But in some ways the more interesting shots are the ones that do not stand out as obviously being one take, and the shot from Atonement qualifies as that. Actually, the shot that I mentioned in Hanna is the same way, though now that I have been selling it to you, you will probably be more aware of it.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:42 pm

Touch of Evil is coming to Blu? Sweet. Now all I need is The Great Escape. Another old classic with a great long take is Hitchcock's Rope. Although not as old a movie, Antonioni's The Passenger has a pretty cool one too, which is actually a pivotal point in the film.
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Re: Seamaster and Iago's endless rehashing Bond thread

Post  Iago on Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:36 am

Be careful what you wish for . . . Check the "Miscellaneous" thread!
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